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Happy 90th Birthday Bushwalking NSW and Blue Gum Forest!

On 21 July it will be 90 years since the Federation of Bushwalking Clubs (now Bushwalking NSW) held its inaugural meeting. Soon after, on 2 September, we’ll see the 90th anniversary of the reservation of the iconic Blue Gum Forest, in the Grose Valley, following a campaign by bushwalkers.

The two events are not unrelated. The success of the collective action by the walkers had encouraged them to form the umbrella group which would assist Myles Dunphy and others in their campaigns to create national parks. Blue Gum Forest was the kernel of today’s Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, and is the cradle of the modern conservation movement in NSW. You can read more about this in Andy Macqueen’s book “Back from the Brink: Blue Gum Forest and the Grose Wilderness”, which is available at Blue Mountains bookshops and here.

Celebratory campout

The saving of Blue Gum Forest will be celebrated on the weekend of 3-4 September 2022 by a campout in the Grose Valley, at The Meadow (near Acacia Flat). Attendance will be limited to members of clubs affiliated with Bushwalking NSW, and their families.

The agenda will include a ceremony at the forest on Saturday afternoon and a communal campfire in the evening. On Sunday morning some interpretive ambles will be on offer, the topics including birds, plants and geology.

The activity is being organised by volunteers, with the support of NPWS. Participants will have to make their own way in and out of the valley. Numbers will be capped at 80. Registration is essential and will be on a first-in-first-served basis. All participants:

  • Must be a member of a bushwalking club, or accompany such a person as a member of their family.
  • Will preferably be in a party organised under the rules of that club.
  • Must be experienced and self-reliant overnight walkers, or in the care of such a person. The access tracks are steep and involve 600 metres of vertical descent/ascent.
  • Are expected to car-pool, to limit traffic congestion at the track-heads.
  • Be packed up and making their way out of the valley by noon on Sunday.

Further details, including advice concerning track conditions (and closures if any) will be sent to registrants prior to the weekend.

For all enquiries please email Monica Nugent at monica.nugent@environment.nsw.gov.au

Every person, including family members, must be registered. REGISTER HERE.

Camp Quality Sydney Trek

Camp Quality’s Sydney Trek is on 17-18 September where participants trek 50km in 24 hours for kids facing cancer.

To successfully run the event, Camp Quality are looking to recruit at least 120 volunteers. Every single volunteer will play a critical role in helping to deliver a safe and fun event and raise funds to support families facing cancer.

There are a range of roles available, but many would really benefit from teams of people that already know each other.

Volunteers can select more active roles that involve walking long distances or can choose a less physically demanding role and work at one site for the duration of their shift.

As a team, participants could run a Fun Stop together, managing the Start Line or Finish line, or for a more active roles, mark a section of the trail or act as one of our Tail End Charlie teams.

A trail marking shift or Tail End Charlie shift involves walking a section of the trail (sections range from 8.5km to 20km) and either placing marking equipment or removing the marking equipment. For all roles, there are shifts available across both the day and night, with the average shift length being around 4 – 9 hours with breaks.

Those who are interested should contact Sophie Gallagher​ at Camp Quality on (02) 9876 0594.  Alternatively you can sign up online to volunteer here.

Hill View Bushwalkers

A wander in Hornsby, Normanhurst, Waitara & Wahroonga, 8 July 2022, Barbara R

After a week of flooding rain, necessitating the cancellation of the three planned walks for July 8th, a huge mob (41) of Hill View Bushwalkers turned up at Hornsby Station to enjoy an urban walk in brilliant sunshine.

After a longer briefing than usual, which included some history of the area, we headed west past the murals in Dural Lane and on to Frederick Street where we saw the hidden away but impressive California bungalow house & large garden of Leo & Florence Cotton.

Leo Cotton was a highly regarded geologist who became Professor of Geology at Sydney University after the retirement of his mentor & friend Sir Tannatt William Edgeworth David, also a Hornsby resident. Both men went to Antarctica in 1907-8 with Mawson & Shackleton. Leo’s brother Max (also a scholar) bought part of the Cotton property in 1917 to develop Lisgar Gardens. Florence Cotton Reserve (opposite the Frederick St house) is named after Leo’s wife who died in 1930 after only twenty years of marriage.

We crossed Waitara Creek on a bridge near Carcoola Crescent & soon found a hidden pathway & steps through bushland to the crossing of a tributary creek & ascent to a pleasant morning tea spot behind Normanhurst Scout Hall & overlooking the valley.

We realised that was enough flirtation with soggy bushland for the day! Later, a foot track & path were followed from Dartford Road on the southern side of the railway line to Normanhurst Station & Edwards Road from where we walked up quiet Russell Avenue to the source of Waitara Creek & to Pennant Hills Road. Soon another hidden lane off the Pacific Highway was followed to Anulla Place Reserve from where we made our way to & through bushland behind The Grange & through this 1980s Retirement Village to Waitara Station.

At this stage we had walked over 9kms so twelve people decided they’d enjoyed enough exercise for the day & caught a train to their various destinations. Those who had their sights set on lunch in Wahroonga Park, followed the highway SE to Carden Avenue then a path that follows the railway to a footbridge over the M1, on to Warwilla Avenue & the pedestrian rail overpass to our lunch destination. Nine stalwarts stayed for excellent coffee at the Coonanbarra Cafe opposite the park.

On the approximately 13km walk we only (temporarily & briefly) lost three people! Not bad considering the crowd. 😂 Lessons were learnt… & the abandoned were gracious… The usual HVB camaraderie reached a new level after the week of watery isolation and a great time was had by all.

Leaders: Barbara R & Steve

Walkers: Helen A, Nick B, Barbara C, Susan, Rhondda, Ann D, Tim, Elaine, Michael, Jane, John G, Ros G, Christine G, Carol, Celia, Cherry, Kas, Chris McA, Bill McD, Lydia, John M, Hazel, Margaret P, Wendy P, Pragati, David R, Anne R, Christine S, John S, Jenny S, Nick S, Sue S, Lyn, Cleona, Louis, Don W as well as visiting walkers Rosemary Wade (becoming our newest member), Irene Soon & Cheong Lai

Thanks to Nick B for being tail end Charlie.

Our thanks to Barbara R for planning the route and for many hours of historical research.

Our July Club: Hill View Bushwalkers

Hill View Bushwalkers (HVB) has Friday walks from mid-February to mid-November. HVB began in a small way in the early 1970s, growing gradually and retaining a quite informal structure. The spirit of friendship and care that was nurtured in those early years has been maintained, and it is rewarding to be associated with this group.

We are an incorporated group affiliated with Bushwalking NSW. We have walks at three levels of activity led by members who volunteer to lead walks that appeal to them.

The Plus walking group usually has a walk ranging from 14 to 20 kilometres, with substantial ascents and descents though the distance may be less in difficult terrain.

The Regular walking group will usually walk between 9 and 13 kilometres, with less vigorous climbs.

A third group, the EZY walking group, is for those who now find the first two types of walk a bit difficult and wish to walk at a slower pace, with walks of up to 8 kilometres. These walks are currently held fortnightly.

We tend to have a fairly mature membership that includes many part-time workers and retired people.

A weekend away is occasionally arranged to a place where there is low-cost accommodation and good day walks, such as the Snowy Mountains or NSW South Coast.

Members have two six-month programs each year, providing a weekly walk from mid February until mid November.

Development of each program starts with a subcommittee preparing a list of proposed walks. This is then circulated to members, who indicate which walks they are prepared to lead (two leaders to each walk). When all the gaps are filled the program is finalised and published. Walks are all within reach of a one day trip from the meeting point in Turramurra, enabling us to walk in the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Royal National Park areas as well as in Sydney.

The number of participants is not limited (unless by COVID restrictions) and leaders make arrangements to ensure all walkers are included.

Every walk has 2 First Aiders nominated. First Aid training is encouraged by a substantial subsidy towards the cost.

The leaders walk the track shortly before leading a group in order to ensure the conditions are suitable.

If the advertised walk needs to be modified, or leaders judge that participants need more information, then a WALKS ADVISORY is issued.

We usually drive with car pooling, but where possible we use public transport.

We are COVID safe. Our program and procedure is modified in response to COVID restrictions as appropriate.

Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 26-28 August 2022

Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2022: Event Volunteers needed!

Oxfam Trailwalker is a community event that brings people together from all walks of life. Event organisers are looking for dedicated volunteers to create an incredible experience for teams, helping them walk 100km in 48 hours to raise much needed funds to tackle poverty. The event from the Hawkesbury to the Harbour spans across nine locations from Parsley Bay through to Bobbin Head and finishes at the scenic Tania Park. There are volunteer roles to suit everyone!

Trail Markers & Sweep Teams

Being based in the bush, the event requires keen and active bush walkers to head out and mark sections of the trail prior to the event and then sweep sections of the trail as final walkers walk through. This is done in groups of approximately 4 volunteers per section.

Checkpoint Crew

Checkpoint Crew look after walkers as they rest along the 100km journey at checkpoints, making sure they have the support and supplies they need. You will assist with timing points, walker retirements, and general operations.

Perks?
  • Walk for Free at any Oxfam Trailwalker event in 2023!
  • Have a fulfilling feeling of giving back to the community and helping others in need around the world!
  • Receive an Oxfam Trailwalker volunteer gift
How to sign up?

Fill in this Expression of Interest form here or head here to find out more.

Coffs Hikers

Coffs Hikers climb Tuckers Nob, Orara West State Forest/Bindarra National Park, March 2022, Yvonne, Coffs Hikers

Tuckers Nob is a local landmark, with a great view to the Dorrigo escarpment, and the Bellinger Valley to the sea. In March, walkers from Coffs Hikers set off from the north side of the mountain following Frontage Creek up steeply through Orara West State Forest on logging tracks.

Close to the top is a track labelled on the map as “That Steep Bit”, and it is certainly steep! The forest vegetation changes as we approach the summit (874 metres) and the view opens up. There is a geocache hiding here.

After a rest on a rough hewn bench to enjoy our lunch, we start cautiously down that steep bit again, stopping on the way to admire Fig Tree Falls in full flow after rain. Then it’s back to the cars to clean off the mud and remove any free passengers (aka leeches).

Our June Club: Coffs Hikers

Coffs Hikers is a new Bushwalking NSW club in Coffs Harbour on the mid-north coast, with a fast-growing membership. The Club is spoilt for choice with many national parks, state forests, coastal walks, creeks and the great escarpment offering many opportunities for wild explorations! The Club currently offers day walks, overnight walks and camping, but hope to offer cycling and kayaking in future.

In the Club’s first six months, 84 club members have enjoyed 321 outdoor experiences together on 39 activities. These have included soggy off-track in the jungle, steep climbs to lookouts, camping at Gibraltar Ranges, map and compass training and gentler coastal rambles.

For more information visit the Club website or Facebook page. In addition Coffs Trails publishes routes of many walks in the Coffs area.

 

Northern Rivers Bushwalkers Club

NRBC Walks, Gibraltar Range National Park, April 2022, Northern Rivers Bushwalkers Club

There’s not many National Parks open at the moment due to all the rain and flood damage, but 22 walkers from Northern Rivers Bushwalkers Club (NRBC) managed to get some walks in at Gibraltar Range National Park. It was a bit wet underfoot, but only rained on our last day.

Our April Club: Northern Rivers Bushwalkers Club

The Northern Rivers Bushwalkers Club runs a variety of bushwalking, cycling, kayaking and abseiling activities each week in the National Parks, State Forests and coastal areas of the NSW North Coast Region, and beyond.

The Club is located in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, which includes Ballina, Lismore and Tweed Heads. NRBC is a group of friendly people who welcomes new members and offers a come and try walk before people are required to join.

 

The Walking Volunteers add more walks!

The Walking Volunteers add more walks! 

The Walking Volunteers Inc. have added 113 kilometres of walking tracks in the Hills District to their extensive network of public walking routes across Greater Sydney. These routes include the 65 kilometre long Hills Circle that takes advantage of the excellent tracks built by The Hills Shire Council, Hornsby Shire Council, Crown Lands and National Parks & Wildlife Service along the picturesque creeks of the Hornsby Plateau. This main route runs from public transport node to public transport node including several stations on the North-West Metro Line and visits historic sites such as Bella Vista Farm and the Third Government Farm at Castle Hill.  

 The main route wanders through delightful rainforest, shale-sandstone forest and turpentine-ironbark forest hidden away in the creek valleys. There are numerous natural viewpoints with forested vistas of the valleys and from high point along the way there are views to the distant ramparts of the Blue Mountains. As the Circle crosses from creek valley to creek valley you visit the delightful local reserves such as Bella Vista Green and Crestwood Reserve. Local loops visit other sites such as Fred Caterson Reserve, one of the oldest public reserves in Sydney, Castle Hill Showground, the site of the William Thompson Masonic School at Balcombe Heights and countless local reserves. 

The Walking Volunteers now have over 1,500 kilometres of walking routes on their online maps that may be downloaded to your smartphone, tablet or PC from the Sydney Walking Tracks map on their website. These maps have been accessed by over 880,000 walkers. 

Excelsior Creek

 

Splendour Rock – hidden in plain sight

ANZAC Day is not far off.  Many bushwalkers will be heading to Splendour Rock in the Wild Dog Mountains of the Megalong Valley.  They will be there to honour thirteen (13) bushwalkers remembered by a simple but moving Dawn Service at this memorial plaque.  There has been an annual Dawn Service since at least from 1992 and perhaps even 1990 (records are incomplete).  Prior to that time Dawn Services were infrequent but usually at significant anniversaries such as 10, 25 and 50 years since its dedication in 1948 by the NSW Federation of Bushwalking Clubs (now Bushwalking NSW)..

The Bushwalking NSW website has a file that describes the fallen we remember at Splendour Rock prepared by Michael Keats OAM, Belinda Keir and Keith Maxwell.  See – https://www.bushwalkingnsw.org.au/history/

There is something special about Splendour Rock that has been hidden plain sight.  Its not just the location which is very special with its stunning view of the southern Blue Mountains.  It tells the story of a changing Australia in World War II.

In WWI Australia sent a new army, the AIF (Australian Imperial Force) to the other side of the world for an amphibious landing on ANZAC Day 1915 at Gallipoli.

Australia industrialised as war came very close in WWII and the casualties tell an interesting story.  Among the bushwalkers remembered a minority were in the AIF but all four (4) died in the fall of Singapore in 1942 or later as POW of the Japanese.

Bruce Elder (pictured) of Coast & Mountain Walkers died on HMAS Sydney when it was lost off the Western Australian coast in November 1941.

James McCormack of YMCA Ramblers although in RAAF died on HMAS Canberra when it was lost in the Battle of Savo Island in the Pacific Ocean.  Again, not Europe.

Norman Saill of Sydney Bush Walkers and RAAF died in the New Guinea campaign.  The remaining six (6) bushwalkers (of the 13) were all in RAAF and died while based in the UK.

So, hiding in plain sight was the fact that at Splendour Rock more airmen (8) are remembered than soldiers (4) who were more likely to have died close to Australia and not in some foreign (European) field.

Splendour Rock Memorial 1948

Elder Bruce photo

Keith Maxwell.

Sydney Bush Walkers

A Week of Walks, Kosciuszko National Park, Christmas/New Year 2021/22, Sydney Bush Walkers, Report by John Kennett, Photos by John Pozniak

Between Christmas and New Year 2021/22 myself and thirty other members of Sydney Bush Walkers (SBW) travelled, walked and gathered on the trails and in the ski-lodges of beautiful Kosciuszko National Park.

Every day we embarked on a different walk and were rewarded with the sight of brilliant blue skies, beautiful weather and voluminous wildflowers. Among the fantastic locations we visited were the Iconic Trails, Mt Twynham, Ramshead, Dead Horse Gap, Guthega, Mt Anton and Mt Tate.

To cap off a successful week our visit concluded with 2022 New Year’s Eve celebrations which were thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Our March Club: Sydney Bush Walkers

Our club of the month, Sydney Bush Walkers is one of Australia’s largest and oldest Bushwalking Clubs. SBW was founded in 1927 and has a membership of around 850.

The club offers challenging day and multi-day walks including extended 12 day (or more) trips.  Canyoning is a very popular club activity in the warmer months.

SBW volunteer trip leaders are experienced walkers who aim to maximise members enjoyment of the outdoors while also ensuring the safety of all walkers. While SBW leaders foster group co-operation participants are also expected to be self-sufficient to ensure that all members cope with walk conditions and challenges that arise.

While the Sydney Bushies provide a range of bush experiences, they also offer a great social network of like minded, outdoorsy types. A SBW membership provides a unique opportunity for bush lovers to develop skills, increase confidence and meet new like-minded friends!

The club holds monthly information nights for people who are considering joining (book here). For more information visit the SBW website or Facebook Page.

 

 

Watagan Wanderers Bushwalking Club

3 day hike, Barrington Tops NP, February 2022, Watagan Wanderers Bushwalking Club, Report & Images David Whyte

This hike was meant to be down Paterson’s Gorge but the predicted rain made that walk too dangerous. A nice alternative in the same area, and one we have done before, was to walk to Selby Alley hut and do a day walk from there around Edwards Swap.

The walk starts up with a steady climb up the Corker trail. The tall trees of the ancient beech forest add a lovely atmosphere to this walk and in summer offer a lot of shade. We have done this walk in winter where you are enclosed by mist. The lunch time break offers a magnificent view of Carey Peak in the distance which was our destination the next day

As we reached the top of the Corker track and it started to level out, we kept our eye out for a special dead tree marking the slightly hidden track to Selby Alley hut. It felt magical as we followed this secret path through dense forest, and then spotted the hut sitting just across from a beautiful stream that was softly meandering through sub tropical rainforest past the hut to nearby Basden Falls. We arrived at the hut mid afternoon giving us plenty of time to set up our tents and collect firewood. Despite being summer it was quite cool.

Leaving our tents up we set off the next day for a 20km walk around Edwards Swamp stopping at Careys Peak on the way. The clear morning offered stunning views over the valley below and the ridge that the Corker Trail follows. We spotted a few feral horses during the day and were saddened by how much broom there was growing; The Aeroplane hill track was quite dense in some areas. We cooked our dinner out in the open next to the fire and during the night the rain started to set in. We returned to our cars the next day via the corker trail in mist and listened to the sounds of lyre birds as we descended.

Our February Club: Watagan Wanderers Bushwalking Club

The Watagan Wanderers was established in the early 90s to meet the needs of people in The Central Coast, Lake Macquarie and Newcastle areas. It has an active program of providing day and multiday hikes over most of Australia and overseas. Though, since Covid the walks have become much more local. The club also has keen cycling, kayaking and abseiling groups. Our program can be found on our website.